Alternate timelines (SF vs PF vs PF2.0)


Prerelease Discussion


What worries me a little is that since Starfinder is a thing we know that all "world ending" scenarios won't really be the end of the world and that no matter what the players do, the future will end up being "all right".

Will a Paizo author come out and say that PF and SF are each happening in alternate realities to remedy this? Will Paizo introduce some kind of time-travel humbug for a quick-and-easy fix?


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Golarion is missing. Maybe a world ending scenario did come to pass? That is part of the reason for the Gap is to keep things linked but still separate.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That is what the Gap is for.

Nobody knows what happened in the Gap.

Nobody really knows how long it was, even.

It was just a thing that happened/will happen.


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Mind the gap.

Liberty's Edge

The Gap starts right about in the current year of Pathfinder. Golarion is gone in Starfinder, and while certain people from it survived, they could've been refugees fleeing a dying world easily enough.

Who knows what happened?


The Gap is garbage.


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Corrik wrote:
The Gap is garbage.

It does solve the issue brought up in the initial post.

Liberty's Edge

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Indeed. I have no personal problem with the Gap, but even if you hate it, it solves the original problem.


Considering that the world can actually end, or at least get severely screwed up, depending on characters level of success or failure in Second Darkness. The world ending has been and continues to be a thing.

Any scenario in which the PCs at your table take a major role in world critical events is by default canonically divergent.


Does it matter? What happens at tables won't effect any story Paizo is telling nor will it matter to other tables.

I mean do we have a clear example of how many years from NOW in PF the Gap happens in SF?

I can't process this being a problem. Not saying there isn't one I guess considering it was brought up, but this is one I just don't get.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Albatoonoe wrote:
Golarion is missing. Maybe a world ending scenario did come to pass? That is part of the reason for the Gap is to keep things linked but still separate.

Some friends of mine pointed out a problem with that option: While the gods had little to say about the fate of Golarion, they did say that it still existed and was okay -- so a world ending scenario would make the gods liars.

But note that this does not rule out many truly horrible scenarios that fall short of world ending.


David knott 242 wrote:
Albatoonoe wrote:
Golarion is missing. Maybe a world ending scenario did come to pass? That is part of the reason for the Gap is to keep things linked but still separate.

Some friends of mine pointed out a problem with that option: While the gods had little to say about the fate of Golarion, they did say that it still existed and was okay -- so a world ending scenario would make the gods liars.

But note that this does not rule out many truly horrible scenarios that fall short of world ending.

Maybe it's broken and being rebuilt? Tucked away safely in a hidden dimension as Torag reforges the prison of the Devourer.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Wild Spirit wrote:

What worries me a little is that since Starfinder is a thing we know that all "world ending" scenarios won't really be the end of the world and that no matter what the players do, the future will end up being "all right".

Will a Paizo author come out and say that PF and SF are each happening in alternate realities to remedy this?

In my Pathfinder game, a flying pyramid landed on the edge of Wati and is currently being used as a casino by a kobold. I doubt that's true in any of your Pathfinder games. In your Pathfinder game, maybe they killed Laori Vaus, or maybe she's wife to a PC and queen of Korvosa. If you insist on thinking too hard about it, any setting with prepackaged adventures is going to have to run in a separate parallel universe for each party.

Liberty's Edge

prosfilaes wrote:
In your Pathfinder game, maybe they killed Laori Vaus, or maybe she's wife to a PC and queen of Korvosa.

In mine, a PC converted her to the worship of Calistria. They were shacked up and running an inn/brothel last I heard.

That's off topic, isn't it? Ah, well, I just like talking about the CotCT game I ran.


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Lost In Limbo wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
Albatoonoe wrote:
Golarion is missing. Maybe a world ending scenario did come to pass? That is part of the reason for the Gap is to keep things linked but still separate.

Some friends of mine pointed out a problem with that option: While the gods had little to say about the fate of Golarion, they did say that it still existed and was okay -- so a world ending scenario would make the gods liars.

But note that this does not rule out many truly horrible scenarios that fall short of world ending.

Maybe it's broken and being rebuilt? Tucked away safely in a hidden dimension as Torag reforges the prison of the Devourer.

Yeah, the Vogons really messed things up when they cleared out THAT world(*) for a hyperspace bypass . . . although said hyperspace bypass seems to be significantly benefiting travelers to Absalom Station . . . .

(*)You think Earth was the only world or even the most important one being used by superintelligent hyperdimensional beings masquerading as mice?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Gap is pretty much us saying "Yes, they exist in separate timelines." The two games share a lot of the same DNA in the form of both rules and story, but what happens in our Pathfinder products from now until whenever in the future does not always mean that happens in Starfinder, and vice-versa.

As a very over-the-top example... if we decided 20 years from now to do an adventure path in Pathfinder in which Abadar gets killed, that doesn't mean that all of a sudden Abadar was never a part of Starfinder.


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prosfilaes wrote:


In my Pathfinder game, a flying pyramid landed on the edge of Wati and is currently being used as a casino by a kobold. I doubt that's true in any of your Pathfinder games. In your Pathfinder game, maybe they killed Laori Vaus, or maybe she's wife to a PC and queen of Korvosa. If you insist on thinking too hard about it, any setting with prepackaged adventures is going to have to run in a separate parallel universe for each party.

"I'm king of Korvosa"

"No, I'm king of Korvosa!"
"No, I'M king of Korvosa!"
"No, I'm king of Korvosa, and so's my wife!!"


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James Jacobs wrote:

The Gap is pretty much us saying "Yes, they exist in separate timelines." The two games share a lot of the same DNA in the form of both rules and story, but what happens in our Pathfinder products from now until whenever in the future does not always mean that happens in Starfinder, and vice-versa.

As a very over-the-top example... if we decided 20 years from now to do an adventure path in Pathfinder in which Abadar gets killed, that doesn't mean that all of a sudden Abadar was never a part of Starfinder.

Or he WAS gone all along, and his heralds / servant outsiders covered it up after seeing the aftermath of Aroden. ;3


I have a singular title within my region. Occasionally, I get together and compete with others with the same title. It helps if we are all the single champion of the same place since that means we have the same resources available.

This is a completely normal occurance.


James Jacobs wrote:

{. . .}

As a very over-the-top example... if we decided 20 years from now to do an adventure path in Pathfinder in which Abadar gets killed, that doesn't mean that all of a sudden Abadar was never a part of Starfinder.

It could be that he got better . . . .


James Jacobs wrote:

The Gap is pretty much us saying "Yes, they exist in separate timelines." The two games share a lot of the same DNA in the form of both rules and story, but what happens in our Pathfinder products from now until whenever in the future does not always mean that happens in Starfinder, and vice-versa.

As a very over-the-top example... if we decided 20 years from now to do an adventure path in Pathfinder in which Abadar gets killed, that doesn't mean that all of a sudden Abadar was never a part of Starfinder.

See there is an issue with that explanation though. The Starfinder Core Rulebook specifically has rules for time traveling Pathfinder characters coming forward. Which means RAW that magic and technology from Pathfinder existed and can exist again. Which means that Starfinder is not an alternate timeline but a divergent one. Which is a problem because the Drift has a lot of flaws and magic available in Pathfinder can create far more useful effects. Why rely on a shifty AI god's drift beacons for FTL communication when you can set up Sending beacons that instantaneously transmit data to anywhere on the same plane of existence? 25 words of indeterminate length can actually be a lot of information, and if it's instant and has unlimited uses, a computer can compress and pulse out the data. This could create a very effective plane wide internet and there really isn't any magical or physical laws of the universe which would prevent them. Even if you claim the laws do prevent that, I simply don't believe that a bigger version of a 12k item couldn't be created. Cost and casters are no problem for an advanced sci-fi setting with an advanced sci-fi economy and education system. Magic Dyson Spheres could provide as much power as needed. How quickly do you think an automated Fabricate and True Creation assembly line could knock one of those bad girls out?

I read through the Starfinder setting and see little reason for things to end up like they did, knowing what I know about the magic and technology available 4000+ years in the past. And "it was lost to time" just doesn't cut it when I can program a quantum AI(who also has magic) to figure out that problem and stick them in an erratic or timeless demi-plane. Boom elf gates, boom elf gate beacons, boom better FTL network than the drift. The gods stop that or some other BS? Okay, then I make Interplanetary Teleport beacons. Way better FTL network than the Drift.

Basically, Starfinder can't just be an alternate timeline. Starfinder has to be a complete alternate reality with 0 connection to Pathfinder, other than some lore similarities. Anything less and it becomes a sweater poorly knit that you have to make a prohibitive amount of changes to. And I find that really unfortunate, because advancing the Pathfinder setting 4000 years to its logical conclusion was what I wanted. The gap is garbage because the gap is disappointment. I would have much rather y'all just flat out said that Starfinder was nothing more than a sci-fi version of the game and the connections ended there. Pathfinder magic, classes, items, etc simply never existed. No need for a bunch of massive holes in the campaign setting.

While I have you though, I have a question. Gap ended roughly 300 years ago and 4000 years seems a good enough number for it's beginning. Now let's say I take my ship and travel 300-4000+ light years away from a planet. I then look back and use my incredibly advanced sci-fi technology to observe what was happening during the time period. Now sure, the light is scrambled and it won't be anything like watching it in real time. I can, however, gain a truly massive amount of data from that still. So what does my character learn? Now I cast Wish to unscramble the light and put a hologram in my hand showing what happened in real and speed up time. Let's even say I cast a second wish spell to make sure I can rewind, zoom in, etc. Now what do I learn? Not having a defined answer to such and other attempts actively hampers my enjoyment of the game.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The starfinder "rules" for bringing Pathfinder characters is mostly a chapter on advice for conversion. Even then it isn't there to be a canon piece of the game world, but a way for people to move the characters they love to a new system.


Malk_Content wrote:
The starfinder "rules" for bringing Pathfinder characters is mostly a chapter on advice for conversion. Even then it isn't there to be a canon piece of the game world, but a way for people to move the characters they love to a new system.

Call it what you like, RAW time traveling lv 20 Wizards exist in Starfinder. Even without the legacy chapter, JJ calling Starfinder an alternate timeline comfirms Pathfinder existed. Any possibility of lv 20 Wizards must be treated as an absolute certainty of lv 20 Wizards. And certainly does nothing about using wish to unscramble light particles.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The very first paragraph of that chapter is stating that all of it is up to individual GM fiat. Thus it is not a core assumption of the setting. For spell casters in a particular it notes you should individually check any spell over 6th that starfinder doesn't have.


Malk_Content wrote:
The very first paragraph of that chapter is stating that all of it is up to individual GM fiat. Thus it is not a core assumption of the setting. For spell casters in a particular it notes you should individually check any spell over 6th that starfinder doesn't have.

Every rule is up to individual GM fiat, that argument holds no weight. The spell casting specifically does allow them to have full 9th level casting though. And the simple fact remains that the core assumption of the setting has been confirmed to be Pathfinder but gone down a different timeline. That there are numerous ways to poke at the Gap given the magic and science available but are not addressed. None of this is even going hard at the system, this is just off handed questions. How much do you think any of this holds up if you go full Tippyverse?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Not every rule has a specific "you must ask your GM about it" though. That is above and beyond. It means these rules are not assumed to exist. And the spell casting lets you have full spell casting, if your GM goes through each level 7-9 spell unedited, which the book (and if we go by what you say this is RAW) suggests you alter to fit Starfinder.


Malk_Content wrote:
Not every rule has a specific "you must ask your GM about it" though. That is above and beyond. It means these rules are not assumed to exist. And the spell casting lets you have full spell casting, if your GM goes through each level 7-9 spell unedited, which the book (and if we go by what you say this is RAW) suggests you alter to fit Starfinder.

Actually, rule 0 means that every rule has a specific "You must ask your GM about it". But changing the spell level is a fair point. Based on wish True Creation should be a 6th level spell. Fabrication can remain a 5th level, but we can knock it down to 4th if you like. Again though, JJ just confirmed Starfinder is an alternate timeline to Pathfinder. Thus confirming that Pathfinder and it's accompaniment did, in fact, exist.

But fine, we'll move on from that. Interplanetary Teleport is a 6th lv spell in the Starfinder Core Rulebook. Cost and power are hardly a limit for a society with as much magic and technology as presented in the campaign setting. Especially for something as valuable as instant travel and communication across a plane of existence. Interplanetary Teleport beacons to instantly travel to another beacon instead of spending days or weeks drifting there. Heck, based on the spell you might not even need another beacon on the other end. "“the third planet from the sun of the XYZ system in the ABC galaxy” should serve as an acceptable location per the spell reading. Bring a IT beacon with you for the jump, drop it off, go home. You might need someone who has been to that location for such easy spreading out, but we won't bother with those specifics. Let's just stick to building this network up.

FTL beacon technology exists and is common place. The magic for the concept is right there in the CRB. Maybe this is not enough to do away with the Drift right away, but it's more than enough to supplement it. Similar to the Mass Relays in Mass Effect. IT beacons could form a high way of sorts, and the Drift would cover our FTL needs for shorter range or less traveled areas. But that network would grow quickly and there would soon enough be no reason to use the shifty AI god's FTL network and get the basis of governing away from The Citadel, I mean Absalom Station, and it's massive vulnerabilities. This is all very doable given what was presented in the CRB, and I have a hard time figuring why it wasn't.

*edit*
And I'd like to point out that there really isn't any reason to use beacons. I just used that as an example because we already have drift beacons. Little reason to not have Interplanetary Jump drives that lets you instantly teleport to any location in your nav computer.

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